Former Michigan players start online petition to support legacy of Bo Schembechler

There are always two sides to a story.

Following Bo Schembechler‘s step-son and a pair of his former players coming out and accused Bo of knowing about the wrong-doings of Dr. Robert Anderson and doing nothing to stop it, there are now a group of former players coming to Bo’s defense.

On Tuesday, an online petition was started by former players and coaches who support the legacy of Bo Schembechler.

To the University of Michigan Community:

We are former players, coaches and staff members who played for and worked with Bo Schembechler during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. We saw Coach Schembechler in victory and in defeat, in front of crowds 100,000 strong, and in quiet moments of reflection. Many of us met him for the first time in our parents’ living rooms when we were barely old enough to vote and most of us stayed in touch with him right up until his death in 2006.

Our experiences tell us that the Bo Schembechler we knew would never have tolerated any abuse or mistreatment of his players, his staff, or any other individual. We believe firmly, that if he were aware of such behavior, Coach Schembechler would have acted immediately to put a stop to it and would have made sure anyone responsible for it would have been removed from the University of Michigan football program.

We want to be clear, as a group we are sympathetic to all victims of sexual abuse. Yearly physicals by family doctors, or athletic physicals by a university doctor were the same physicals as performed by the United States military. There was no reason to suspect abuse in those circumstances. If Coach Schembechler was aware of any criminal or sexual abuse, as we stated above, in our opinion, he would have been outraged and taken action immediately. It is reasonable to assume that Coach Schembechler, like many at the time, believed the physicals were not abusive but rather performed in accordance with standard medical practices.

All of us received physicals to play football at Michigan. Many of us never thought at any time we had been abused during the process. And, subsequently nothing was reported to Bo. One of the strengths of Coach Schembechler was to motivate players to be better than they thought they could be.  Bo always expected the best from us because he held himself to the same standard. The effort to destroy Coach Schembechler’s reputation and legacy will not go unchallenged by those of us who knew him. Just because he isn’t present doesn’t mean he’s not here.

We are proud of our connection to Coach Schembechler, and we stand today in complete support of his wife Cathy, his son Glenn (Schemy) and his memory.

At the time of posting, this petition has 82 signatures.